Audi's new shock absorber prototype generates electricity while you drive

Car manufacturer Audi is currently working on a new damper prototype that will convert kinetic energy from driving over potholes and bumps in the road into electricity.

The new eROT prototype system will offer potential fuel savings of 0.7 litres per kilometre and cut CO2 emissions by three grams per kilometre

The new eROT prototype system will offer potential fuel savings of 0.7 litres per kilometre and cut CO2 emissions by three grams per kilometre

The new “eROT” prototype absorbs the kinetic energy from each compression and transmits the force through a gear system to an electrical motor which it then converts to electricity.

According to Audi, the resulting electrical output is benchmarked at 100-150 watts on typical German roads. The electricity generated ranges from 3 watts on a brand new surfaced freeway to 613 watts on rough secondary roads. Audi estimates that in typical driving conditions, this will equate to savings up to 3g of CO2 per kilometre or 4.8g per mile.

“Every pothole, every bump, every curve induces kinetic energy in the car. Today’s dampers absorb this energy, which is lost in the form of heat,” Audi’s board member for technical development Dr Stefan Knirsch said.

“With the new electromechanical damper system in the 48-volt electrical system, we put this energy to use. It also presents us and our customers with entirely new possibilities for adjusting the suspension.”

The eROT's electric motors sit horizontally in the rear axle, replacing the general upright telescopic absorbers to increase ride comfort as well as generate electricity. The new technology will be powered via a 48-volt lithium ion battery and will be fully customisable via included software.

In the next version planned for 2017, Audi are looking to utilise the eROT as the primary electrical system in an unspecified vehicle model, offering potential fuel savings of up to 0.7 litres per 100km.

Audi innovation

This is the latest in a line of technological innovations released by Audi in an effort to demonstrate its commitment to mitigating emissions and electrifying its portfolio.

The German car manufacturer developed traffic light technology that could potentially cut CO2 emissions by 15%. The traffic light sends information via the ‘in car-internet’, displaying a countdown to the next green light and interacts with the engines ‘start-stop’ function, ensuring engines are switched on five seconds before the green phase.

Moreover, Audi also unveiled its first electric SUV concept car which was confirmed for production earlier this year. The E-tron Quattro will bring competition to the upcoming Tesla Model X SUV.

Alex Baldwin


Innovation | technology | electric vehicles


Technology & innovation
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